House Approves U.S. Healthcare Reform Bill by 219-212 Partisan Vote

March 22, 2010

The dollar is mostly flat this Monday, edging up 0.1% against sterling, the Swiss franc and the Canadian dollar.  It is unchanged against the euro and off 0.1% relative to the yen.  The main changes are gains of 0.6% against the kiwi and 0.5% versus the Australian dollar.

Japanese markets were closed in observance of the autumnal equinox.

Stocks declined as worries over sovereign debt concerns were stirred by remarks from the IMF’s John Lipsky while in Beijing.  Equities fell by 1.5% in Indonesia, 2.1% in Hong Kong, 1.1% in India, 0.9% in Australia, 0.9% in Singapore and 0.8% in Taiwan and South Korea.  In Europe, the British Ftse, Paris Cac and German Dax have traded down 1.0%, 0.9%, and 0.7%.

Lipsky expect advanced economies, except Germany and Canada, to have debt-to-GDP ratios near 100% by 2014.

Oil and gold prices slid 1.1% and 0.3% to $79.82 per barrel and $1104.20 per troy ounce.

Ten-year British gilt and German bund yields slid two basis points.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the senate healthcare bill by a vote of 219-212 and a “fix-it” bill asking for some modifications and needing Senate passage by 220-211.  The bills received no Republican support.

Taiwanese unemployment firmed to 5.76% in February from 5.68% in January, the first monthly uptick since August.

Australian motor vehicle sales eased 1.9% on month but advanced 17.1% on year in February.

Hong Kong’s current account surplus widened 56% last quarter to $36.6 billion.  Hong Kong consumer prices increased 2.8% from a year ago in February, accelerating by more than forecast from a 1.0% advance in the year to January.  Core inflation was 1.6% last month.

The second round of French regional elections gave President Sarkozy’s party just 35% compared to a 54% share for the socialists.  However, presidential elections are not due until 2012.

Austrian producer prices eased 0.2% in January and posted an on-year decline of 1.3% that month.

Icelandic wages in February were 3.6% above year-earlier levels, accelerating from 3.1% in January.

Danish consumer confidence printed at minus 1.0 in March, weaker than assumed.

Swiss on-year M3 growth remained at 6.1% in February.

Late Friday came word that the Bank of Mexico left its key overnight lending rate unchanged as expected at 4.5%.

The Chicago Fed index will be released today.  Brazilian current account, Euroland consumer confidence and Mexican retail sales figures arrive, too.

Copyright Larry Greenberg 2010.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.



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